… Upon receiving a report from his subordinates, Blois Cadel sighed.
His office was a little more in order than it had been before, and his temporary rule was going forward without a problem.
The land that perished before the legions of monsters had been under Bahnseim’s rule for a good few months now.
Within all that, the one temporarily taking command of it was a man named 【Blois Cadel】. He boasted curling, short brown hair, and while he had an atmosphere from which one wouldn’t feel much motivation, he had the caliber to be promoted to general at the very heart of Bahnseim.
The contents plaguing him was the negotiations with their new neighbor Beim.
Looking over the documents, Blois put his eyes through the report he had just received.
“Even if it may be temporary, a four-country alliance was formed. Did they think there wouldn’t be many wars for a while, or are they turning their coffers to Bahnseim this time… those merchants of death sure are scary.”
Zayin, Lorphys, Galleria, and Rusworth… from Bahnseim’s point of view, they were just small countries. But having gotten together, they had formed an alliance on a scale that couldn’t be ignored.
Here and there on all the pages, the name 【Lyle Walt】 was written in.
“… I had heard there had been a driven-out brother, but he sure moves flashily. Even if he were irrelevant, I wonder how those merchants will use him.”
Thinking over all that, Blois felt his head was going to ache. The reason he’d gone through all the trouble of volunteering to be stationed at such a remote place, spending day after day chased after by work, was merely because he had noticed abnormalities at the capital, and had headed for the hills.
But what would the queen-to-be say if she caught wind of this information?
His inability to predict it was because Blois knew of Celes’ whimsy. For every time she would cut down the opposition without mercy, there were times where she’d spend long months getting them to yield to her.
At present with the king, queen, the crown prince, and the powerful Walt House behind her, there wasn’t a soul who could go against her.
If you opposed, your territory would be trampled down. With the example kindly demonstrated, the feudal lords kept their mouthes shut.
“It really is a detestable time. I’m starting to see some relative truth in those tales of that beautiful courtesan all those years ago.”
Troubled as he was, Blois still had the obligation to report.
Leaving the reports and such on his desk, he looked up at the ceiling, and rubbed the corners of his eye with a fingertip.
“At Bahnseim’s main territory… negotiations in Centralle, huh?”
Beim was attempting to begin full-blown negotiations with Bahnseim…
In a room of the mansion in Beim, I covered a cover up past my head, wriggling on the bed in agony.
“It’s not my fault, it’s not my fault, it’s not my fault…”
The reason I was cowering to such an extent lay in how a four-country treaty was officially tied, formally forming an alliance. Without an official name, it was currently an agreement passed on a business relations level, but perhaps it would be fitting to say things were going favorably.
Galleria and Rusworth asserted the formation of an engagement between me and their representatives.
Zayin and Lorphys delivered documents requesting an explanation.
But that wasn’t the main problem.
It was also a problem, but it was already a fact, so it couldn’t be undone. What I was focusing on most was the Jewel.
It wasn’t near the bed, but on the desk. And yet, I could hear the voice up-close.
『… I… wanna see garters.』
LYLE spoke. Following his words, the post-Growth me had told everyone to prepare garters. What’s more, I even put out the condition that they be ones that excited me.
Just how much better would it have been if they had gotten angry at me there? If it ended with their anger at that point, that would have been the end of the matter.
From the Jewel, I heard Milleia-san’s bubbly voice. That woman was still holding a grudge at how she couldn’t see my post-Growth state.
I think she’s definitely the type that gets vindictive if you make her mad.
『Lyle, you must keep you promises. Look, let’s go and see the undergarments everyone bought for you already. Don’t be embarrassed. Some of them were custom ordered, oh I just can’t wait~.』
They could’ve just angrily refused, but instead, they all gathered together, discussed it a bit, returned to Beim, and put in requests to Monica and the other automatons.
When shopping, they were told to put in as much zeal as if they were specially ordered… definitely to spite me.
Because he never thought they would accept, there was no helping that LYLE’s tensions were especially high.
『I also think stockings are nice.』
That opinion was approved by the Third.
I felt a presence before the door…
… I cried out.
Aria was on the other side of the door. Did she plan to get back for having to run all over the battlefield looking for me?
『Now get out there, Lyle. You want to see undergarments, don’t you? They went to the trouble of preparing, so go look at it for them. On with it~.』
Knowing I would run away, Aria was going to gleefully drive me into a corner.
“I-I’m not quite up for it today, so how about tomorrow…”
From the Jewel, the ancestors talked smack about Aria’s course of action. The Third even…
『She just doesn’t get it. It’s the embarrassment that’s key here. Aria-chan, you may be trying to get back at him, but you’re not enticing in the slightest.』
The Fifth sounded uninterested, however…
『… Rather than undergarments, can’t we get some more clothing for May?』
The Seventh let out a sigh.
『This is why adventurers are… learn some shame, why don’t you?』
And I was the one who wanted to run from the embarrassment. Knowing it would come to this, everyone had purposely prepared for this day.
Aria was going on a strong offense, knowing I wouldn’t hazard a glance down. It was vexing, but from my embarrassment, she was probably right.
The usual Aria aside, when it came to the other members… imagining it turned my face red, and I began feeling annoyed at Aria, coming to rile me up on the other side of the door.
『When she went so far to prepare them? I see, so you don’t wanna see. You spoke of your love for undergarments with such zeal, yet it was but a lie~.』
The one so zealous about them was the post-Growth me.
He had ordered everyone to wear ones that would make him want to see. Getting embarrassed about it later, I became conscious of it, but using it as a reason, the female camp was incessantly attacking me.
That’s why… it wasn’t my fault. Yet LYLE…
『Woohoo! But after she’s insisting so hard for you to look, I want to stare straight at her, scoff, and make her embarrassed instead! The flushed face of the usually violent Aria… I think it’s a yes!』
He was all on board.
… Fidel Trēs was happily reading a document in his estate.
He put his eyes through the paper that had come to his office, and thinking of his incoming income, he felt as if he couldn’t turn off his smile.
“Nice. I was reluctant to invest in that gigolo, but the formation of a four-country alliance will give more meaning to the ports. Constructing them will take time and money, but when they’re done, considering a usage fee… I’ll be able to reclaim my investment within ten years. It was a good thing I ordered those new ship models. The Trēs House is sure to grow even larger in my generation.”
Preparing ports on two countries with coasts, his monopolization of their use was already recognized.
The authority of the Trēs House in Beim, the city of merchants, was sure to rise. And even if the formation of an alliance decreased the need for war, it made it so he could make it by on other enterprises.
It wasn’t a problem to the Trēs House at all.
“That damn gigolo, his ability is splendid, if nothing else. I don’t want to admit it, but he’s capable. If only he didn’t trick Vera, we would’ve made great partners… wait!? What was I just…! Damn, this must also be his trap or something!”
If his daughter hadn’t been involved, he would be perfect, of so Fidel said as he returned to his work…
… Somewhere in Beim.
There, the merchants and Guild executives gathered to talk.
They were the ones profiting off of war, and had gathered together for the profits of all parties.
In a narrow room, different from usual. The representative merchants and the guild top brass discussed.
“A Trēs House monopoly on the ports of two countries? It will get even more difficult for we, their opposition.”
“A four-way alliance… it would be troublesome if war went down.”
“Then just sell them to the adventurers. The adventurers will buy the weapons. But the problem is the mercenaries.”
“If they’ve no work, can’t they just defeat monsters?”
“That level isn’t enough to maintain a brigade. About that Labyrinth Subjugation we sent around to them, it didn’t create much of a profit at all.”
While one party had benefited greatly from Lyle, there were others who had not. There were plenty of mercenary brigades who would be troubled by the lack of war nearby.
Because they would need to change their base of operations. If they thought they couldn’t earn money in Beim, they would immediately leave the city. But there was a reason Beim wanted to detain the brigades there.
Beim was a special territory.
A majority of its war potential came from its adventurers and mercenaries. In such a situation, having the mercenary numbers go down was a troubling story. And it wasn’t just a tale of ten or twenty percent.
If played poorly, only ten or twenty percent may remain. In that case, the number of people who would issue requests would go down, so it was an issue the Adventurer Guild South Branch couldn’t let be.
“It’s Lyle. I don’t think leaving that brat to his own devices would be the best course of actions.”
“… I hate to admit it, but he’s a national hero. Putting hands on him will become an international problem. And before we could do anything, the talks of that defensive battle spread around. If something happens, they’ll think we did it.”
“That brat! Spreading rumors, it’s as if he’s making us out as the villains! He’s the one who said he’s take on the job! And he only brought up talks for reinforcements once. He returned without even trying to negotiate!”
“And so the rumors have come that we abandoned him. But fact is fact. The rumors hold no lies.”
The gathered members thought of Lyle with detestable sentiment. There was no doubt in the fact Lyle was the hero who saved the city of Beim, so doing something to him would raise a problem.
Within all that, a single Guild executive.
“The one in Bahnseim backed by her House, Celes Walt… future queen of the crown prince, but it seems she’s considerably cruel. Civil wars continue to rage on within the country of Bahnseim. And she’s the blood sister of that very Lyle Walt. Can we not make use of this?”
Hearing that, everyone showed light reactions only akin to a brief, ‘you’re not wrong’.
“Happens sometimes. Well, it’s also the time for us to earn some money. Weapons fly off the shelves, and other things sell as well. But can we use him?”
“The mercenaries are already starting off towards Bahnseim. Is there no way to stop them? At this rate, there will be a chip in Beim’s military might.”
The Guild executive. Head of the South Branch gave a slight smile as he spoke.
“It’s because Lyle’s here that Bahnseim is glaring at us. That’s all you have to say. Let’s leak some rumors. And present Lyle to Celes.”
The other faces gathered.
“We’ve thought over that before, but the boy was exiled. Does presenting him at this point truly hold any meaning?”
“We need only say he has the intentions to oppose. If you tell them the alliance in question was forged for that purpose, there’s no way Bahnseim can leave him be.”
The alliance was a gathering of small countries. But brought together, they had as large a power as the addition of their parts. It was true he could move a force of twenty to thirty thousand troops, and if he pushed it, he could mobilize some times that amount.
Those there looked around, and nodded amongst themselves.
“… He’s a gotten a little too high on his horse, is how it is. But starting with the Trēs House, a large number of merchants have come to invest in him as well. If they put up opposition, forcing this talk passed will be difficult.”
“… It’s possible. About the Trēs House, they’ve been overdoing themselves a little as of late. Even increasing their lineup of new-model ships, on top of pouring quite some aid into the last war of Galleria and Rusworth. The Trēs House head is soft on his family, so he wouldn’t think his daughter would move.”
Hearing that, everyone’s eyes turned to the South Branch head for further explanation.
There was a possibility it would lead to large movements throughout Beim.
The South Branch executive spoke delightedly.
“It’s about Gina Trēs. She said if it would make her lover the head, she wouldn’t mind jumping on board, and driving out the father. Good grief, merchant daughters sure are scary.”
Everyone, upon hearing that name, knew only of rumors of a love across status. And thinking over whether she would really go that far, on the contrary, they started making delighted faces.
“Very well. If that’s the extent to which she uses her head, taking control of her should be a simple task.”
“Convenient daughters are quite an asset to us. We must give our blessings to her wedding. Shall we send some congratulatory gifts?”
“That’s also nice, but make the preparations. Given the occasion. Let’s use this chance to drive the Trēs House’s faction out of Beim.”
Talks proceeded forward.
Lyle was on the verge of losing a large backer in Beim…